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Ferguson, John F.
JOHN F. FERGUSON is editor of the Conrad Observer and has been identified with local journalism at Conrad, Montana, since 1905. The dissemination of news, the discussion of public questions and the promotion of the general welfare of his community through the columns of his paper constitute life's object with him as a private citizen. In addition to his interests in journalism Mr. Ferguson is the owner of a fine farm of 440 acres in Teton county, the same being in a high state of cultivation.
At Watertown, in Herkimer county, New York, December 19, 1859, occurred the birth of Mr. Ferguson, who is a. son of Oliver A. Ferguson. The father was born in the Empire state of the Union in 1819 and during his active career was a millwright by trade. He was summoned to the life eternal in 1873, at the age of fifty-four years. His wife, whose maiden name was Katherine Kincaid, was likewise a native of New York and she died at Belleville, province of Ontario, Canada, at the age of eighty-six years, her demise having occurred June 10, 1911. Ten children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson and of the number six are living, in 1912.
In the early '60s the Ferguson family removed from New York to Ontario, Canada, and there the young John F. received his educational training, which included a course in the high school at Belleville, in which he was graduated as a member of the class of 1874. After leaving school he entered upon an apprenticeship to learn the printer's trade. During the first year of his apprenticeship he received a salary of, five dollars per month and during the last three years his salary amounted to five dollars per week. After becoming a full-fledged printer, Mr. Ferguson worked as a journeyman for two years in Canada and then went to Chicago, Illinois, where he worked in the offices of a number of the leading newspapers of that metropolis. He was in the employ of the Inter Ocean before that paper had linotype machines. He remained in Chicago for five years, at the end of which he came to Montana. This was in 1894 and he first located at Great Falls, where he entered the employ of the Great Northern Railroad Company as fireman. Three and a half' years later he was made engineer on the Great Northern line and he continued as such until the outbreak of the. Spanish-American war, in 1898, when he enlisted as a soldier in Company A, First Montana Volunteers, He was in the service of the United States army for eighteen months and was a non-commissioned officer and wagoner of his company in the Philippine Islands until he received his honorable discharge, in November, 1900, at San Francisco. He participated in a number of important engagements marking the progress of the war and acquitted himself with all of honor and distinction as a soldier.
After the close of his military career Mr. Ferguson returned to Great Falls, where he became a member of the city fire department. This position was not to. his liking, however, and on April 25, 1901, he accepted a position as editor and publisher of the Shelby Independent. He remained at Shelby until November, 1904, when he came to Conrad, where he has been editor and proprietor of the Conrad Observer since April, 1905. At the time of his advent in this place there were but nine buildings in the entire town. Mr. Ferguson owns the lot and building in which his newspaper offices are located and his plant is equipped with all the latest equipment in the way of printing presses. The Observer is a weekly paper and has a circulation of seven hundred and fifty; it boasts a large list of advertisers. In politics the paper favors the Republican party and Mr. Ferguson himself is a stalwart in the ranks of that organization. While he does not take an active part in local politics he exerts considerable influence for the good of the public welfare through the medium of his paper. In a fraternal way he is affiliated with Conrad. Lodge No. 8o, Free and Accepted Masons, and he is likewise a member of the Modern Woodmen of America at Conrad.
September 5, 1911, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Ferguson to Miss Gertrude M. Shoemaker.
History of Montana pages 1535-1536